In May 2000, I graduated high school in – I believe – the bottom quarter of my class (I believe my GPA was in the 2.0s, if even that high – I hated my school). It’s now May 2020, and I am a college graduate with a 3.98 GPA. If you all will excuse me, I need a minute to sit down and process this.
Seriously though, this is a very weird time for me. For the past four years, aside from a week-long break here and there, every day has been filled with research and/or homework. Now…I don’t even know what to do with my time. I mean, the state finally bit the bullet and shut down the schools for the rest of the school year, so the kids are still doing online schooling, and I do have the new job, so my planner isn’t going to be completely empty, but it’s weird not penciling in my own assignments and whatnots. Once everything calms down, and the kids are done with school, I plan on penciling in some “me” time. Nothing special, but maybe I’ll Uber over to an IHOP or something, where I can sit back and read or write in peace. Maybe I’ll find the local library, instead. I miss libraries…
Anyway, it’s May 1st, and I had planned on getting straight back to writing, but I got called into work later today, and I also work all this weekend. I wanted another day to myself, but ah well. I’ll just have to wait til Monday to get back to writing. I don’t have a chapter of “Don’t Feed the Trolls” to release for this month yet, and I’d like to change that. It’s already halfway done, but I need to look back at where I left off, and get back up to speed.
I’ve set aside looking for an agent using “Say ‘No!’ to Zombies,” simply because, at the moment, I’m thinking it might be a bit wrongfooted, if you know what I mean. I do plan on looking into self-publishing it though. Might have to skip on the editor for now, which kinda sucks, cause I found one I like, but it is what it is. Maybe next year I’ll be able to have her look it over, but I’m also planning on moving sometime next year, so…we’ll see. As far as I’m aware, Amazon allows ebooks to be updated by the author, so if I am able to afford her services, I can just update the file.
I hope you all are staying safe and sane. It’s crazy right now, but we’re all in this together. ♥
So. A lot has changed in the past month. I actually had to go look up last month’s update post to see what I had planned for March, and oof. March definitely has not lived up to my expectations. I mean, we had rain and flowers are starting to pop up, and there were tornadoes not too far from us, but the biggest source of concern (and cussing….lots of cussing) wasn’t Mother Nature, for once.
I’ve mentioned before that I was looking for a job, and if any of you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know that this virus crap was putting a major damper on that hunt (as well as just about everything else, let’s be real, here). Well, the good news is, I was able to find a new job. The bad news is, it’s considered “essential” so I’ll be out there every work day, just the same as one of the roommates. I plan on being extra extra careful, cause I know a lot of people out there aren’t, but it’s also at a pharmacy, so…yeah. This is going to be an interesting time.
The kids’ school have extended their distance learning for another almost two weeks. Personally, I’m just waiting for them to close til the end of the school year. It only makes sense at this point. The school district has ran out of “bad weather make up” days. If they switch to online learning for the rest of the year, they don’t have to worry about extending the year any further to make up the difference (course, then again, I don’t know how the school year works, so I could be wrong).
At any rate, the kids aren’t quite as miserable as they thought they would be. The eldest finished their homework with days to spare and was permitted to treat the rest of the week like a long weekend. The youngest and I worked together to schedule his school days to give him time to talk to his friends in the school chatroom, so he’s much happier with the set up. He also really likes not having to get up at six a.m.. We haven’t been able to factor in Phys. Ed yet, but we’re working on it. If the rain can hold off this week, he can start running around outside and getting some exercise that way (any parents out there with suggestions?). All of my plans for the kids’ April Fool’s Day are shot, so today is going to be rather boring for us.
I know a lot of people are starting to get strained with the Shelter In Place order, and to you all, I would suggest reaching out online. There are so many group chats and Facebook groups popping up; just because we’re social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t socialize at all. I’ve joined a group of ladies on Facebook, and we’re all helping each other plan projects to keep us distracted. I already have plenty of projects I want to work on, but the encouragement is nice to have, especially from a bunch of strangers. It feels like the coming together of a mini-community, and I definitely recommend it for anyone feeling the walls starting to press on them.
For those of you who don’t know, April is Military Awareness Month and Child Abuse Awareness month (anyone who suggests a correlation will be given the mother of all stink eyes). Given that the National Guard is out there helping in places like New York, where the virus is rampant, I figured they (and the rest of our service men and women) could use some love. I also wanted to bring attention to child abuse, since so many children are being forced to stay at home in unsafe conditions. For many of them, school is their only safe place, and it’s been taken away from them. This pandemic needs to end soon, and not just for the people who are at risk of the illness.
For all you out there, stay safe, sane(ish), and healthy. The next few months are going to be bumpy. Hang in there.
So. I’ve had a post sitting, waiting, for the past two weeks, explaining (and apologizing for) the lack of writing logs. I had them on pause while I was back in classes, because, honestly? I just didn’t have the spoons to write with. Now…oof.
I live in Texas. The schools in our district are shut down and we’re not sure when they’ll reopen. For now, the kiddos are doing online courses. The eldest kiddo has had their first online assignment, but most of their classes won’t start/open until Monday. They were very unhappy with the idea of online schooling until it sunk in that they could do it in their pajamas. Now, they’re like “YES!” There’s still some grumbling because they miss their friends and boyfriend, but I think the prospect of spending all day in comfy clothes is helping to soften the blow a bit. The youngest is in full denial mode. He misses his friends, and he doesn’t want to spend all day staring at a computer screen when it’s not playing games.
One of my roommates is a distributor, so he’ll be working through this crisis. The other’s workplace has gone to “no contact” operations. She keeps the doors locked, and all business is done online or through drop-offs. She’s also the one who got herself a trip to the ER last week, leaving with a possible (probable) flu diagnosis. That was scary, in itself, because the weekend before, we went to a couple shops and then out to eat at IHOP. The doc said she didn’t have enough symptoms to warrant a COVID test though, and the symptoms she did have weren’t in line with the virus, anyway. Still a scary moment. My cousin posted on Facebook last night that he’s sick. He’s feeling better today, but he’ll be tested on Monday. He lives in Japan, and apparently tests aren’t as hard to come by there, I guess? My sister has imposed some strict quarantine rules for her house. She just turned 50, is asthmatic, and is our mom’s caretaker, as it were. Mom is 71 and diabetic. She’s otherwise fine, health concern-wise, as far as I know of, but sis isn’t taking any chances, and I don’t blame her one bit.
My university has postponed the commencement ceremony until this whole mess is over. My job hunting is at a standstill now, until businesses start opening again. I supposedly still have a job at 7Eleven, but I haven’t even been paid from the last time I worked, so…yeah. I’m not falling for that again. We’re hunkered down and not going out if we can avoid it, but other than that, not much has changed for us. I guess we’re all lucky in the fact that most of us are introverts, and the one extrovert we have is the one driving around to all these stores. He gets all his people time out there, so he’s alright.
I know a lot of people are stressed lately, and I hope for a pleasant end to this soon…for everyone’s sake.
Two posts in the same month, holy crap. You all good?? Yeah, I probably should’ve warned you all to sit down first. Oops?
So, I’m a big of not doing the whole “New Year, New Me” crap. I see it as a bunch of hooey that people do to make themselves feel better about the new year, and it annoys me to no end, because so few people actually stick to them. By the end of March, everyone is usually right back to their usual selves. I’m not excluding myself from this, either. I’ve done it plenty of times, myself. That’s why I stopped doing New Year’s Resolutions.
The end of this year, however, is also the end of a decade. That’s a bit different, amiright? Of course, I’m right. Tiffany is always right. (Shut up, Biblio.)
Instead of making big changes this year, I am setting goals for where I want to be when the clock strikes midnight, January 1st, 2030. None of them are significant changes, mind you, just small improvements here and there, and I’m approaching them all, one step at a time.
The first big step has to do with this blog, and all of you who have found it worthwhile to hang around, even through the dry spells. Again, nothing big, but I do have plans. If all goes well, “Don’t Feed the Trolls” will be completed by the end of the year, and “Say ‘No’ to Zombies” will be off to an editor.
I will also be trying to be more active on Instagram (no promises, though. I hate that you can’t add proper links).
You’ll see the first of the planned changes at midnight on the first. The next should go live on January 6th. Music Monday is back, but with a new incarnation. You’ll see.
Okay, quick! I need a show of hands: who here is surprised at the length of time between the last post and this one?
….no one? Okay, good. Just making sure I’m staying on brand. I was worried there.
So, a couple things have changed in the past couple months. I did have the dental surgery. Things went a bit sideways there (Side note to all the doctor/dentists/etc. of the world: LISTEN TO YOUR PATIENTS), but we finally managed to get it done the last week of October. Since then, it’s been healing and fighting with professors. The fight was resolved, the healing will continue for the next several months, but all is well there.
The class I’m currently in was a bit intensive, and I have two final projects due. After that though, I have a two-and-a-half month break. Currently, the plan is to take some time for reflection. This coming year is going to be a big one for me. I will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in May, hopefully meeting up with the wonderful @thebibliofeels , starting a new job (again: hopefully), and – if all goes well – moving to a completely new (to me) area. I’ve lived in Texas for the past eleven years, and I hate it. I don’t do well with the heat, and I miss having actual trees and grass that is alive, not brown and ready to burn if you so much as look at it funny. I’m quite excited about it all, and can’t wait to see where I am in life this time next year.
There’s good news for you all, too: I also plan on writing during my almost three month sabbatical. Right now, I have it planned to have at least two (hoping for three) chapters of “Don’t Feed the Trolls” finished and ready to post. I also am planning on setting aside time to do some editing of my older work. I’m focusing more on getting the new chapters finished though, because my last semester begins in March, and I’ll have two classes, rather than one, and immediately after that is when I have to start planning my graduation travels.
See, I’ve been gone, but I haven’t forgotten you all. I’m just trying to find a better way of connecting and give you what you want~ It’s a work in progress, but the work is progress, so there’s that, at least.
Also, I got an Alexa device for an early Christmas present, and I fully intend on using it to help with productivity. New year, not a “new” me, but an improved one, I think…
I don’t remember what I thought when I first met you. I honestly don’t even remember our first meeting – period. I can remember meeting so many other people in my life – ask me about the first time I walked around my kindergarten class. I can remember sitting on the stairs in a house in Maryland when I was three, watching Dad keep an eye out for some idiot running around with a machete. I can remember holding the hand of a young girl who had just been hit by a car – the red and blue ambulance lights flashing across our faces – I was only four, then.
I remember meeting your oldest brother. He was tall and quiet, and I was thrown off at first by his appearance, because I was only six, but I knew heads were generally shaped a certain way, and his was different. He was nice though, and played with me until I got to know other kids in the neighborhood. I quickly forgot that he was considered “different” because of the way he looked. He was just Phil, my new older brother.
I remember meeting your other brother. He filled the room with his voice. He seemed nice, but he was so loud, I remember staying away from him. I remember meeting his wife. She wasn’t much quieter than him, but she seemed to adore me, and was very kind to me. When mom and dad started working and needed someone to watch me until it was time for school, I remember sleeping on the couch in her living room, the house was so quiet and cool. I have fond memories of both of them, and I still have the cassette tape she gave me, where all the songs had my name in them.
I even remember meeting your mother. She was measuring me for my Flower Girl shirt and skirt. I instantly liked her because she was the only person I could remember meeting who was even shorter than my mother.
You though. It seems like I went to sleep, woke up, and you had always just been there. Sometimes, I think I remember you greeting dad for the first time, but I don’t know if that’s an actual memory, or just my mind creating one to fill in the blank, because the first actual memory I have of you with my parents, was of you arguing with them the night before you married my sister. You were yelling at mom, and I heard dad tell you, “I know you’re mad, but she is still my wife, and you will talk to her with respect.”
I remember the wedding. I remember not really knowing much about you, but still hating you and admiring you in equal parts. I was only seven when you married sis, and it was the first wedding I had been a part of, so I had no idea how the whole marriage thing worked. As far as I could tell though, you had to be pretty friggin’ amazing for my sister to be willing to leave her entire family just to be with you. I remember everyone going “Awww!!” at the wedding when they asked me to speak a few words as a toast, and all I could do was cry because I thought I was losing my only sister. I remember the relief when I was told that I wasn’t losing her – I was gaining you. I could handle that thought. I already had one brother, and he wasn’t so bad (at the time) – what’s one more, you know? Plus, you came with two other brothers. Score! All the brothers a girl could want.
Then you gave me my oldest nephew. I mean, it was a joint effort between you and sis, but you did play a part in it. I don’t think I ever thanked you for that. He was – and still is – my favorite memory, and my favorite person (don’t tell your wife). We had our moments growing up, but that boy is my brother, and so much of that is thanks to you.
Marrying my sister didn’t mean you had to let me spend the night with you guys as often as you did. You didn’t have to walk with me through the neighborhood after dad died, letting me grieve in silence while you stood by, ready to be there if I called for you. I needed to get out of the house, but no one in the family wanted to go, and you alone spoke up, “I’ll go with her. Let’s go, Tiff.” You didn’t say a word when we got outside. I walked ahead of you a good couple feet, and you just followed. I don’t know how you knew I needed that. I don’t know if you even knew, but in the madhouse that followed dad’s death, that is one of the moments that stands out the most.
You didn’t have to let me stay at your place with you and sis after dad died. Yeah, you probably felt like you couldn’t turn me away – sis and I had just gone through the most devastating moment in our lives – but you would’ve had a solid reason. You had a full house of your own at the time. It was a two bedroom house, and you and sis were already having to share a room with your son, while your brother had the other room.
You didn’t have to let me come out and spend that summer with you and sis in Ohio. Yeah, it worked out for the best for you guys, cause you needed someone to watch him while you guys were working, but there were other people in the neighborhood.
You didn’t have to let me live with you guys when the summer was over, and start attending high school there, even though the alternative was sending me back to mom and having to face the possibility of me being killed or assaulted on the way to school. I did more growing up in that time with you guys, than I did at home with mom.
That was when your boy went from being my favorite little human being to being my brother.
You didn’t have to let mom and I live with you while we waited for the settlement to finish from dad’s death. You didn’t have to offer to teach me how to drive (I did apologize for scaring you with the clutch, right?). You didn’t have to step in and tell me when I was treating mom wrong, or ensure that what mom said – went. You were an atheist, through and through, but if mom said I was going to church with her on Sunday, my ass was to be out of bed, and upstairs, dressed and ready to go on time. You didn’t care that I didn’t want to go. That was my mother, and I would talk to her with respect.
That was when you went from being my brother-in-law to my being my father.
You and I didn’t always agree. You didn’t always like me, just as I didn’t always like you. There was one thing that never changed though. I always knew that – if I really needed you, I could’ve picked up the phone, and you would’ve came.
When you died, we weren’t talking to each other. We hadn’t talked in two years at that point. Both of us were insulted and hurt by the other, but I like to think that you still knew you were loved. I like to think you know you’re missed.
Speaking of your death though, I’m sorry we didn’t do things the way you wanted. You always said you didn’t want the big somber funeral. You wanted clowns, drinks, laughter. You wanted the whole amusement park feel to your “remembrance party.” You didn’t want people to be sad or crying, because that’s just not what you were about. Sis and your boy were pretty devastated by your death though, and the rest of your family needed that somber sort of funeral.
I think you’d be proud though. I read the eulogy Johnny wrote. It was touching, and it had humor. He did really well. There was no fighting (that I was told about anyway – I didn’t make it. Blame the Chinese government – I know I do), and there was a good turn out. Plus, they sang “Amazing Grace” and if I recall correctly, that was one of your favorite hymns. You certainly sang it often enough.
Your wife and son are both still trying to get their heads on straight, but I think you’d be proud of them, too. They’re making their way. Sis is slowly starting to write again. Your boy got your gift with art, and he’s making money off of it.
I’m trying to honor your funeral request in my own way. When I think of you and start getting sad, I try to remember something funny you did, or my favorite stories I’ve been told about you. One of my personal favorites is the way you kept proposing to sis while drunk off your ass. It took a while, but you finally got a “yes” out of her. Then there was the time you woke up with your boy sitting on your chest, holding a curtain rod. He gave you a smile, with those golden curls and blue eyes, looking for all the world like one of Michaelangelo’s cherubs, said “hi, daddy!” and then cracked you right between the eyes with the metal end of the rod. I’m fairly certain that’s where you got that scar from, but I could be wrong.
When I can’t do that, I find something fun to do instead. I play games, I read a book. I watch clips from “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”. I do what I can, to make me laugh. Because that’s what you would’ve wanted. You didn’t want to be the reason for somebody’s grief.
Today is a little bit harder to find a smile. It’s the third year anniversary of your death and Father’s Day. Rotten luck, I guess. I’m spending the day playing games and talking to friends. I’m trying not to get bogged down in the fact that you’re gone, but I wanted to take time today to tell you a few things, just in case you’d forgotten in your time away from us: You are loved. You are missed. You will not be forgotten.
Hey-lo, people! I had to scroll through a bunch of posts to make sure I hadn’t used this title before. That was annoying, but on to the news:
Okay, some of you might’ve noticed that I didn’t update “Don’t Feed the Trolls” this week. It wasn’t because I forgot to post it – I had already planned on not posting, actually – I just forgot to keep you all in the loop. Oops?
The reason for no update this week was because I had an appointment with a cornea specialist. I believe I mentioned it in a previous post, but at the last appointment with my eye doctors, they noticed a “blemish” in my right eye, and they were concerned. They were tossing out the big “c” word again, and talking about “up-growth” and “down-growth.” I wasn’t too worried about it, because it’s the eye that I can’t really see out of anyway, but you can’t play around when it comes to cancer.
The appointment was on Friday, and the kids were also home from school (end of the year – they only have one full day left, and two half days). When the kids are around, it’s near impossible to get any homework done. Robin likes to run his mouth constantly, and if he’s not bugging me, he’s annoying his sister, which means I get to listen to both of them go at it. I usually try to have my homework done by Friday night, because I have the kids all day during the day on Saturday, and work at the gas station that night. Sunday is the one day I have completely off, and I try to keep it free. This time though, with the kids being home, and not knowing if the doctors were going to want to dilate my eyes, send me down for a CAT scan, etc., I had to rush to get it done by Thursday night. That meant no time for writing on Trolls – or anything else, for that matter – hence the lack of warning about no updates. To be fair, I would’ve had time to write up a quick post last week, had I known then that the kids didn’t have school this Friday, but I didn’t find out until too late, and then it was scrambling to decide what we were going to do with them, since everyone else was working.
It was a bit of a nightmare, frankly, but we got it sorted out, and I made it to my appointment, ohhh, three hours early? Fun times, people. Fun. Times.
The good news is, I was right not to be worried about the whole eye thing. I forget his exact wording, but basically, the cornea specialist said that the “blemish” is a result of losing part of my cornea in the accident. I think he said part of the iris actually moved, and that’s what is causing the pigmentation. He made some noise about attacking the cataract in that eye, but that it wasn’t something I don’t need to worry about for another 20-30 years, so that’s a good ways away. They also checked my eye pressure again – glaucoma is still a concern – but even that was okay. It was on the “high” end of the normal spectrum, but it was still within range.
The bad news is that the doctor couldn’t sign off on me yet. I have to travel 30-45 minutes – each way – to the appointments, so I was hoping I was done, but nope. This doctor was “just” a cornea specialist, not one of the doctors who have been following my case for the past three years now. Hopefully though, I’ll only have one more appointment with them, and then I can go back to having the doctor down the road keep tabs on me. He’s a lot more expensive than the others, but he’s also only about five minutes away, and really good.
Don’t Feed the Trolls:
Honestly, for the next couple weeks, you guys should probably forget about regular updates, I’m just going to tell you now. The next two semesters I have are all filled with 300-400 level classes, which means a ton of homework each week. I’m trying to write on a regular basis, but the school year for Batgirl and Robin is also winding down, which means life is getting a bit more hectic. I’m still hoping to get a chapter out at least once a month, but I can’t make any promises at this point.
I’m also considering saying “screw it” and releasing “Say ‘No!’ to Zombies” on Amazon while I work on Don’t Feed the Trolls, but I haven’t decided yet. I’ll keep you all updated on that one.
That’s it for now. I have to work tonight, and then tomorrow I refuse to do anything but bury my head and try not to think about how much crap I have to get done with the kids around all summer.
So, if any of you have ever checked out the “Who I Am” page, you know that I’m a nanny. A live-in one, at that. It’s…an interesting life, I have to say. A lot of the time, it’s just me yelling at the kids now days, but it used to be cuddle time in front of the television, letting them make “chili” out of me (that’s another story), and/or sharing the absolute geekiest videos online I could find with them (seriously, these kids know more about this galaxy and assorted planets than a lot of adults do).
Something no one told me about this nanny business (probably because I’m the only one any of us know), is that – if you hang around long enough – you are no longer just a glorified babysitter. You become part of the family. You will find yourself adopting certain characteristics from the parents, just as they will with you. And the kids. Oof, the kids.
When I started working for this family, the eldest (Batgirl) was about to turn three, and the mother was pregnant with the youngest (Robin). This year, Batgirl will be turning the big 1-3, and Robin will be turning 10. It has been absolutely mindblowing watching them grow. I grew up with my oldest nephew being more like a younger brother than anything else, but with him – I watched him grow in, I guess what they call “fits and starts.” I saw him all the time, but he still managed to grow a little more every time I saw him. These two kids though…
Anyway, so here’s the thing. I’ve been thinking, and I’ve realized that I have some really strange families.
Yes, plural, and no I’m not complaining.
They’re different in many ways, and they’re perfect for me. The thing is, I want to share them a little bit. So I’m going to. They’re such a big part of my life, it doesn’t seem right not to. I won’t ever share real images of the kids, and it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever see such images of the adults, either, but over the next couple weeks, I’m going to introduce you to the strange cast of characters I call “family.”